gland you posted this thread; I also have a Rowland 302 and Eidolon Diamonds but running mine direct with a Wadia. I would also be interested in the preamp thoughts out there.......
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My friend uses a ARC Ref. 1 with his Eidolons. His phono preamp is an Aesthetix Rhea.
FYI: His amp(s) are currently either a SS Classe 401 or the VTL MB 450 monoblocks. Both amps sound great, btw.
His system is the one that I admire the most of any I have heard, even including stereo dealers. It sounds really musical and the speakers just seem to disappear! (I wish I could have afforded the Eidolons! Someday maybe!)
Hello Philb7777, I previously use the JRDG 8Ti, Avalon Radian and connected to Wadia directly without a pre-amp. Subsequently, I got a JRDG Coherence and found that was a big improvement. Thereafter, I switched to complete Mark Levinson system with Watt Puppy and found that Rowland/Avalon combination suits me taste.
I would prefer a system with a good pre-amp, it gives better dynamics and more musical.
The synergy between Avalon and Rowland is so strong that
makes the decision a no brainer. Stick with the Rowland Pre, coherence or synergy with Battery option. You can spend more and you will not get as much musical satisfaction and involvement from all Rowland and avalon system. You can speak to Stanton guys, who deal avalon rowland and boulder in new york, too!